Last week for my article I spoke about the differences between architects and their processes throughout a project. As a Tulsa commercial contractor, the submittal process will take up the bulk of the processes that go back-and-forth between the architect and the contractor or in my case a Tulsa commercial contractor. One of the most arduous and intensive processes that I endured as a Tulsa commercial contractor is the closeout process for certain architects. The closeout process Is the process by which the building is transferred over from the contractor to the owner. One way that many architects differ from one another is as is in this process. The first type is a very intensive type of closeout process.

The architect may require things like recorded owner training and physical copies of the closeout documents and other requirements. The first type of architect that requires an intensive type of closeout is the one that we worked with at Hilldale. The Hilldale project consisted of first the district service center and elementary cafeteria remodel then they consisted of the Hilldale all sports field house and softball baseball locker room addition and finally the Hilldale elementary gymnasium and classroom edition. For each one of these projects the architect required very specific requirement to finish out the project.

The first requirement was the closeout documents had to have three physical copies they had to have the school’s mascot on the front along with the name of the project the contractors logo the architects logo the name of the superintendent and the phone number and address of the school on a 3 inch three ring binder. The general contractor or construction manager or the Tulsa commercial contractor would have to gather certain documents from the subcontractors and compile them into these three ring binder‘s and then submit them to the architect and the owner.

Some of the items that went into the three-ring binder where owner manuals as built diagrams and warranties. Warranties are not an unusual item for a commercial contractor in fact after a project is completed there is a one-year labor and workmanship warranty built into most contracts. The year of warranty starts with the substantial completion date given to the Tulsa commercial contractor or the construction manager as agreed to fix any deficiencies and material due to labor or oversight.

As-built diagrams are not unusual either. An as-built diagram would be for trades like mechanical, electrical, plumbing, sprinkler system, and low-voltage to Mark on a page of the drawings if there was deviation from the plans. A deviation might occur if the sewer line was supposed to be tapped on a specific side of the building but it was unable to be tapped on that side so the sewer had to run around the building and that would be marked up on the as built so once the owner takes ownership they wouldn’t be able to find the sewer line or the clean out because they would be marked on an as-built and even if they had the original plans because there was a deviation they would know where they were without the as built.

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One of the things that was odd that the Hilldale architect required were certificates of installation or installation certifications. These installation certifications create a way for trades other than the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, sprinkler system, and low-voltage to guarantee their work even though there were contracts these installation certifications served as a note between the subcontractor and the architect that certain jobs were done on certain days and they are notarized and turned in as part of closeout documents.

The fact that the architect wanted these turned in with physical copies along with digital copies is also kind of strange the architect required that there be three copies two for the owner and one for the architect along with three electronic copies either on a thumb drive or a RWD your again two for the owner and one for the architect. This is strange because most of the communication between the owner, the architect, and Tulsa commercial contractor we’re done via email, including the submittal process even with the shop drawings were done through email and the only physical copies that were traded back-and-forth were color samples.

Requiring owner manuals as part of the closeout process makes sense as well this would ensure that the owner has all the same information as far as what light fixtures what plumbing fixtures and what type of furnace and AC that they have so that it can be maintained. While the owner picks out the equipment it is up to the engineer to make sure that the equipment can be relied upon so sometimes changes have to be made to ensure that the building will be comfortable and functional so the owner and a lot of times the maintenance staff will not have any idea what units or what fixtures were picked or why they were picked and therefore they would have no idea how to take care of them.

The owner manuals for especially HVAC equipment will specify longer warranties than one year due to their equipment expected to last longer than one year. Often times mechanical units are expected to last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. Other than the owner manuals, as-builts and warranties, which most owners and architects don’t expect to have a physical copy of, are usual documents given to the owner. The Hilldale architect required The owner training to be video recorded and added as part of the digital copy of the closeout documents. I think that’s actually a good idea because taking care of a commercial building can take a lot of people and you also have turnover and so if you only show one person in the maintenance staff or the maintenance staff and the superintendent and they both leave for whatever reason, then the only people who have experience would be gone and they would be relying on documents handed over; however, this way they’ll have the video recording and be able to go back and actually watch some of the explanation there in the closeout process.